What retirement issue has hit you or your clients out of left field, and how did you resolve it?

The recent recession has really challenged investors in understanding whether their financial goals are still accomplishable.

They acknowledge that significant portfolio losses, high unemployment and global unease are affecting their original retirement plans, but don’t know to what extent.

Investors are looking for more clarity and cohesiveness within their portfolio strategy, and comprehensive financial plans are able to offer just that.

If investors have not completed one, they are seeking it out in order to find the answers and understand exactly where they stand relative to their financial goals.

What prospecting methods have been most successful for you in attracting retirement-planning clients?

I’ve been hosting financial-planning seminars that explain the process I take in helping clients create a strategy towards retirement. Once the plan has been completed and implemented, I ask the new client for a referral.

Do you face any frequently occurring retirement-planning mistakes with prospects?

There are a few recurring retirement planning mistakes that I come across and often times in conjunction with each other.

The savings rate a pre-retiree must have in order to achieve their desired lifestyle has often times fallen short, and withdrawal rates for current retirees has typically been too high. Both of these investors have also ignored their liability planning, which if not addressed can derail their entire retirement plan.

What challenges do you face when modeling clients’ retirement incomes and cash flows, and how do you resolve them?

The biggest challenge when modeling clients’ retirement incomes and cash flows is finding a balance between both and ensuring the client understands how important both are to their retirement picture.

It’s more important for retirees than pre-retirees, but having the conversation early prepares them and educates them in money management.

It all stems from an in-depth conversation with the client and an understanding of their financial objectives, risk tolerance and timeframe.

What mix of products and solutions do you use most often and why?

It’s all about having a process. My process starts with a financial plan which allows me to tailor the client’s investment strategy to their goals.

The focus has always been to optimize the level of risk/return within a portfolio, and, depending on the clients’ timeframe and risk tolerance, the investment solutions will vary.

There are plenty of tools in the toolkit, but it’s all about knowing my client and which tools to utilize.